Photos a Go-Go: A Customer Shares the Story of Her Life

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, March 17, 2018 @ 10: 24 AM



“Wait! Wait! Just one more minute!” 

Standing in the center of our showroom, she was tapping her smartphone feverishly, trying to find a photo of her dining set that she wanted us to sell for her at Furniture Consignment Gallery. She had more photos than the century-old archives of National Geographic. 

Patiently, I watched as thousands of photos whizzed by on the screen. Her life was flashing before my eyes, and, well, I have to confess it wasn’t exactly riveting. It was sort of like watching a decade of silent home movies – for someone else’s family. 

But I couldn’t break away out of sheer politeness. As the years of photos unspooled, in a last-ditch effort to keep me interested, she decided to provide a stream-of-consciousness commentary. That’s when things got interesting. 

“My son’s new girlfriend. See the tattoo? Kind of trampy, don’t you think? Look at the fringe on those boots. She probably has a diamond in her belly button. What does my son see in her?” 

“Here’s my dog, Fluffie. Short for Fluffernutter. He died three years ago. We buried him the yard, then we sold the house and they put in a pool. I hope they didn’t dig up Fluffie.” 

“This was taken at my niece’s First Communion. The priest was a doll even after a kid threw up on him at the reception.” 

“That’s my husband’s favorite arm chair. You wouldn’t want that. He’s fat and the cushion is flat. That man should lay off the beer and Doritos.” 

“Our new car. We got a great deal on it. Then my nephew spilled a slushie all over the back seat. Sticky, sticky, sticky. A nightmare. Why didn’t my sister offer to clean it up?” 

Finally, she conceded defeat. “I can’t find that photo. Can I email it to you when I find it?”

Great idea! 

Getting to know our customers is one of the best things about owning FCG. In this case, I got the full family download, which was in retrospect pretty hilarious. So stop by our showrooms. Bring your phone with photos of the furniture you would like to sell. Show us your dogs, your family and your fascinating collection of garden gnomes. 

Or you can shoot us an email with photos of your furniture. Either way, we’re good.

Respect Is a Two-Way Street. Let’s Remember That In The Heat of Battle

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, March 10, 2018 @ 08: 10 AM



Earlier this week, those of us who watch early-morning news on television were riveted by a drama at a ski resort. A five-year-old girl slipped off the chair lift and was dangling perilously above the mountain, held aloft by a ski instructor seated next to her who’d grabbed the hood of her pink jacket. The ski patrol sprang into action, and caught the girl as she fell, unharmed, into a tarp they’d unfurled underneath the lift. 

Her parents, though, weren’t exactly thankful for the heroism. Instead, they angrily complained in a television interview about “a lack of information” from the resort. Somewhere, I’m sure there’s a slavering pack of lawyers licking their lips at the money-making prospects in this incident.

I’m outraged. Seriously. This family was lucky. First, a capable ski instructor reacted instantly to catch a falling child. Then, well-trained rescue workers dashed to the scene. A tragedy was averted. Still, the family found reason to publicly criticize the resort. To me, that’s ingratitude. 

Why does this incident sting me so much? 

At FCG, we pride ourselves on superb customer service. From our salespeople to our delivery guys, everyone is expected to go the extra mile for our customers. Which they do frequently and without question. But from time to time, a customer will test the limits. 

A couple of weeks ago, a woman bought a piece of art from one of our stores. She left angry because she hadn’t managed to wrangle an additional discount off the print, which was already an excellent value. When she got home, she hung the art improperly and it fell, smashing the frame. She raced back to the store in a rage and demanded we repair the art she’d broken. 

What’s gone wrong in our society? Nearly a century ago, business visionaries adopted the motto “the customer is always right.” When did that concept get so distorted? 

Even L.L. Bean, legendary for its customer service, has thrown in the towel. Earlier this year, the Maine retailer announced a change to its famously generous lifetime returns policy. 

Turns out, people were abusing the company’s generosity, buying old products at yard sales or plucking them from the trash, then returning them for cash or new items. Bean said such fraud has doubled in the last five years. Bean’s CEO concluded: “The numbers are staggering. It’s not sustainable … not reasonable … not fair.” 

At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we work hard to ensure your satisfaction. Yes, problems happen from time to time and we always try to take the high road. Like L.L. Bean, I’m making a stand for things reasonable and fair. We’re all at our best when both sides exhibit respect, patience and understanding. 

And if someone saves your child from death or devastating injury, express your heartfelt gratitude, shed a few tears – and say no more.

5 Tips for Couples Who Own – and Run – a Business Together

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, March 03, 2018 @ 09: 14 AM



Lured by the irresistible drama of marital combat, our staff gathered around us. Diana and I were squaring off over where to place a newly consigned desk. She wanted it moved to the back corner of the showroom with all the other office furniture. I thought the desk was so stunning that every single shopper who stepped in the door would want to gaze upon its beauty and buy it immediately.

As our argument escalated, one heated volley after another, I could see out of the corners of my narrowed eyes that our staffers’ heads were swiveling from side to side like onlookers at Wimbledon. Finally, in a final verbal stab meant to break my stubborn opponent, I turned to the staff. “Well,” I challenged them. “What do you think?”

Bad move. I knew it immediately. Everyone froze in place, panic on their faces. It was a loser’s move, a last jab to save my pride. The staff knew as well as me: Diana is the merchandising expert at FCG. Arranging showrooms is not my forté. What was I thinking? I did a quick about-face. 

“You’re right,” I conceded. Then, with as much dignity as I could muster in the moment, I looked at the staff and said, “I’ll help move the desk to the back.”

Diana and I have been working together for thirteen years at FCG, and we’ve learned a lot about running a business together. Here are some of our secrets to making it work:

Create a division of labor: I handle human resources, operations, and accounting. I approve all incoming consignments. Diana is responsible for merchandising. Among other things, she’s the authority on how our three showrooms look and operate. She also is our new-product buyer, including art and accessories. I do my best to stay clear from her areas of expertise and she from mine.

Create space: Diana and I are rarely together during the business day. This is by design. Among other things, it prevents meddling in a partner’s area of expertise. I tried to muscle in on the desk decision because I happened to be passing through the store in Natick. Too much of any kind of meddling would strain our respectful working relationship.

New Tasks? Divide and Conquer: Diana recently took on the challenge of managing our Instagram account, an increasingly important social media tool for home furnishing companies. As our business has grown, we’ve learned that dividing up new responsibilities is a necessary practice. And we’ve learned to trust each other to act in the company’s best interest. No second-guessing.

Make Major Decisions Together: Though it’s important to have separate roles and responsibilities, certain mission-critical decisions should be made together. Desk placement? Certainly not. That was a waste of valuable energy. But there should be thoughtful debate about big issues like how to manage growth.

Use and Appreciate Your Biggest Asset: Your spouse, like you, has committed time and energy to the business. No one else has as much to gain or lose. Learning how to make those big decisions together is a vital skill. You’ll make some mistakes, but you’ll learn together. Having an experienced and trustworthy partner in your business is a luxury. Protect that partnership at all costs.

Consignment Shopping? What Will the Neighbors Say?

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 24, 2018 @ 07: 54 AM



“Delivery?” she frowned. “No! We’ll pick it up.” 

She’d just bought a very large dresser, and from my point of view, she seemed over-confident about her ability to move it out of our showroom and into her home. For one, she and her husband weren’t exactly brawny. In fact, they looked more like gentle little hobbits than muscle-bound movers. 

Her insistence was making me nervous. What if they dropped the dresser? What if it got stuck on the stairs? “That dresser is pretty heavy,” I cautioned. “You’re going to need some furniture padding and some straps to secure it in your vehicle.”

I saw them exchange anxious looks. Then, reluctantly, the woman said, “I suppose we should consider delivery.” There was a long pause, then she asked: “Do your trucks have your name on them?”

“Yes!” I said, beaming with pride, explaining that all our cars and trucks have our logo in the same royal blue as the awnings on our three stores. “You can’t miss them!” I added. 

Then I suddenly realized the obvious. She didn’t want our trucks parked in her driveway announcing to the neighborhood – in vivid blue, no less – that she’d bought pre-owned furniture from Furniture Consignment Gallery. She was afraid of being the subject of neighborly gossip. 

I was stunned for a moment. 

Then, I thought, how mistaken she was. From my point of view, buying consignment signals quite a different message. Here’s what I think it means to have one of our trucks pull into your driveway: 

• You’re smart! You know you’re buying brand-name furniture for a lot less than retail. 
• You value quality. You don’t want the warped particle-board stuff that you have to assemble yourself. FCG’s pre-owned furniture is top quality from the world’s best furniture companies.
• You’re environmentally conscious and you reject consumerism. New furniture raises your carbon footprint. Pre-owned furniture is a form of preservation, which benefits the environment.
• You have style. You don’t settle for the standard bedroom suite or dining set. That’s like buying a suit off the rack. You’re creative, mixing mid-century pieces with contemporary or classic with industrial. Whatever the mix, it is your unique style statement. 
• You are confident. Knowing that you found a good value and high quality at FCG, you’re happy to educate your neighborhood. When one of our trucks pulls into your driveway, you’re proud to say, “I found a real treasure at Furniture Consignment Gallery.”

Spring in the Air? Yes, FCG’s Showrooms are Bursting with New Furniture

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 17, 2018 @ 09: 59 AM



She threaded her way through a showroom full of show-stopping furniture with nary a glance and came to a stop in front of the service desk in Hanover. Not even the super-cool Chesterfield sofa in a stunning peacock blue with pewter nailhead trim caught her eye. She was, in a word, focused. 

“We’re moving,” she said bluntly. “Finally, the nest is empty! Can you sell our furniture?” 

Late February and early March – depending on the weather – are the start of the peak selling season for housing in and around Boston. Warmer weather and longer daylight are factors. And many homeowners want their families settled in a new home before the start of school in September. 

At FCG, we know how closely the furniture consignment market follows the housing market. By mid-February, inquiries about furniture consignment start to soar. In fact, FCG could probably predict the strength of the market based on those inquiries. Long before local realtors get a call, we often know which homes will be going up for sale. 

This spring looks like a doozy. Already, we’re getting a flood of gorgeous new pre-owned furniture into our stores. This is the start of the fun season at FCG. Everyday, our trucks bring stunning new pieces into all three of our stores in Hanover, Natick and Plymouth. 

So whether you’re buying, selling, or simply shopping for a new look for your current home, this is the best time to check out the furniture at FCG. Stop by our stores. Or, if you want to monitor all the new items while you’re at work, check out our website. It is updated daily with beautiful close-up photos of all our items in stock.

Inspired by the Olympics? Find a World of Furniture at FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 10, 2018 @ 08: 24 AM



The largest ever Olympics kicked off with a colorful spectacle on Thursday. For the next two weeks, athletes from all over the world will vie for gold, silver and bronze in winter sports from curling to bobsled. 

But Pyeongchang isn’t the only place where the world comes together in spirited competition. 

Right here in the heart of New England, Furniture Consignment Gallery has three showrooms where the world’s artisans and craftsmen compete to bring you a stunning variety of pieces for your home.

The Scandinavians are represented by furniture known for clean lines, organic textures and modernist designs. One of the most popular pieces is the Stressless Metro chair by the Norwegian company Ekornes. Our Natick store has that chair and matching ottoman in high-quality white leather and chrome. 

The French are represented by such top brands as Roche Bobois and Ligne Roset. Our Natick showroom, in fact, this week has a contemporary three-cushion sofa in beige by Roche Bobois. 

We also have Italian furniture from Natuzzi, Oriental accessories, and maple furniture made from wood harvested in Canada. 

Should the French figure skating team inspire you with their elegance, consider adding a pop of French Country style to your decor. Inspired by the efficiency of the German downhill ski racers? Rolf Benz captures just that sleekness in its designs. Our stores often carry its furniture. 

But if your heart is with the home team during these Olympic Games, we have plenty of gold-medal-worthy furniture designed and made here in the U.S.A. 

In Natick, we have a queen spindle bed in tiger maple crafted by fine furniture-maker Stephen Swift of Nantucket, a third-generation family business. In Hanover, we have a banded mahogany inlaid server with a gallery rail made by Councill Craftsman, made in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A Super Bowl Sale to Cheer for the Pats? In Minnesota-speak, You Betcha!

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, February 03, 2018 @ 07: 59 AM



It’s Super Bowl Weekend, and we’re all in at FCG. No, that doesn’t mean chips-and-dip in our showrooms. We’re going one better. We’re hosting a ‘12-for-6’ Sale. 

For those out there who don’t get the football analogy, I’ll spell it out. We’re rooting for #12, that is, Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots as he leads his team to, hopefully, Super Bowl Victory #6. 

So what does that mean for you, furniture lovers? This weekend,  almost until kickoff on Sunday, FCG is offering 12% off all furniture and accessories with white tags and 6% off all furniture and accessories with blue tags. 

Our showrooms are filled with great consignment finds from functional used furniture to posh heirlooms, all tagged in blue. These treasures come to us from folks who are moving, downsizing, or looking for a change in their home decor. Nearly 80% of our inventory has blue tags.

We also offer new items that are well-priced, stylish, and necessary, all tagged white. That includes new leather recliners from Hooker Furniture, a requirement for comfortable game-day festivities. Also new: upholstery by Sam Moore, mattresses by family-owned Gold Bond, and thousands of lamps, mirrors and decorative art work. 

While FCG’s consigned merchandise operates on a markdown schedule, white-tag items do not. So this is a great opportunity to get that new recliner you’ve been ogling for weeks. After all, it’s not every day that we get to celebrate the home team playing a Super Bowl (though my kids think it’s the Pats’ due every year).

How Can I Sell My Furniture Fast? 5 Tips

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, January 27, 2018 @ 08: 28 AM



He barreled into our showroom, yanking the door open with such force it nearly ripped off the hinges. His wife followed sheepishly. “I’m looking for a quick sale!” he announced loudly to everyone in the showroom. “Quick! Get it?” 

Hanover was bustling with buyers, and all heads turned to watch as he stomped to the front desk. He whipped out photos of the furniture he wanted to consign and, I’ll admit, it was tempting. All of his pieces were high quality and well-kept. 

After five minutes, though, I knew this deal wouldn’t work for either one of us. For one, he was demanding prices so inflated that his furniture would never sell, never mind speedily. Then, he unleashed a list of other demands, including the specific spots where he wanted his items placed on the showroom floor. 

Ultimately, he left in a fury. Everyone in the showroom breathed a sigh of relief. 

Our consignors want to sell their furniture fast. And we want that for them, too. Here are some tips on how to do it:

1. Price to sell: Furniture is not an appreciating asset. Your furniture lost 30% of its value the day it was delivered to your home. Every year afterward, it loses value. That’s true even if you keep it wrapped in plastic. 1985 is ancient history in furniture years. Tiny nicks and dents also take a toll. But buyers will overlook imperfections if the price is right.

2. Find the right market: I recently got a call from a homeowner in northern Maine. Her house is full of Barbara Barry, luxurious furniture with a Southern California vibe. She knew her rustic area, dotted with rustic log homes, wouldn’t yield a lot of buyers. At FCG, sophisticated buyers with more contemporary tastes will snatch it up.

3. Good photography is essential: The internet makes it possible to sell anything online. But quality photos are a must. Furniture needs proper lighting and multiple shots from good angles. Dirty laundry in the backdrop? Shabby wallpaper? That’s a turn-off for buyers. At FCG, we pride ourselves on crisp, clear photos of furniture from multiple angles.

4. Placement is important: Buyers don’t want to look at furniture that’s stacked up like the plumbing supplies at Home Depot. They want a clean, stylish and safe environment in which to shop. They don’t want dust, grime or last night’s garlic chicken lingering in the air. They want to see furniture in spotlessly clean and beautifully staged rooms that whisper quality. Just like our showrooms.

5. Think like a buyer: Yes, you can borrow a marketing tactic from BMW and call your furniture pre-owned rather then used. But if it’s been stored in a musty attic and buyers have to climb into the rafters and over a stack of board games you won’t get a quick sale. No buyer wants to navigate an obstacle course. But most of all, buyers want a bargain. They don’t want to haggle with an unreasonable seller.

Selling your furniture is difficult. We understand that. Most of us have an intense emotional attachment to our homes and everything in it. All those holiday dinners around the dining room table! The heirloom desk at which you negotiated that big deal!
Difficult as it may be, you should listen to the advice of a trustworthy consignment service like FCG. We’ll help you achieve your goals.

Can Ghosts Live in Furniture? A Spirited Debate at FCG

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, January 20, 2018 @ 07: 39 AM



One Monday morning a few years ago, a woman was peering into an interesting old armoire when the lights in the showroom began to flicker. Startled, she closed the armoire doors. The lights brightened and steadied. Then, a bit timidly, she reopened the doors – and the lights flickered again. 

That’s when she scurried over to Ron, a longtime staffer at FCG. “It’s Mother,” she whispered confidentially in his ear. “She died years ago. But she’s taken up residence in that armoire. Trust me. I know these things.”

A nut job? Don’t be so quick to judge until you hear the rest of the story. 

Of course, she bought the armoire. The lights were flickering excitedly as we rang up the sale and loaded the piece into her car. As she pulled out of the parking lot, the lights beamed with a brightness never seen before – or since. 

FCG isn’t planning a séance anytime soon, but the possibility of an enchanted showroom will always spark a debate among staffers. “Impossible!” said Brian, manager of our store in Hanover. “Ghosts can’t get stuck in furniture unless they die in it.” 

How he knows this for sure, I have no clue, but he maintains that it is possible for ghosts to be trapped in a netherworld between ours and the next. I was impressed with his certainty – and curious. Do these ghosts have special powers? If they can dim the lights, can they predict the Super Bowl? Just askin’ … I wouldn’t mind putting some more money down on the Pats. 

So I decided to survey the staff on this important question. Brad, Ron’s identical brother and manager of our store in Plymouth, was a bit skeptical about Mother-in-the-Armoire. But he does believe that spirits have the power to attach themselves to items that they were fond of while living. 

“If someone really loved a dresser in life, I believe after death its spirit might just nestle into it for comfort,” he explained. “Then, it gives off certain energies.” 

Hmmmm. Now that’s a troubling thought. I really love my new running shoes, but is that where I’d like to spend Eternity? A soul trapped in a sole? What if Diana tossed them out after the funeral? 

Brad wasn’t about to tackle that delicate question but he was willing to expound on his theory. Consider, for instance, a situation in which a buyer was drawn to a certain piece of furniture, but the spirit inside it didn’t approve. “That dresser will emit a negative energy to repel the buyer,” he stated firmly.

Spirits, it turns out, are remarkably picky. And they’re mind-readers, according to Brad. You might be looking for a dresser for storage in the basement. “That’s a lonely place for a spirit,” he said. “It would nix the deal.” Conversely, if you’re looking for a crayon and toy chest for the playroom, a maternal spirit will almost carry that dresser out to the car for you. Too bad they don’t come with Visas. 

This was all getting pretty technical for me. I had a lot of questions. Do spirits get tired of residing in a certain piece? Can they kick a weaker spirit out of the one across the aisle? Is there a market for luxury spirit residences? 

Stop by one of our stores this weekend and see if you can find a kindred spirit in the showroom. And if we find you standing in front of a piece of furniture having a chat with Mother, we won’t say a word. You’ve got my promise.

Who Are the Best Furniture Makers in the U.S.?

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, January 13, 2018 @ 01: 10 PM



Who makes the best furniture in the U.S.? 

That’s easy to answer. At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we inspect, compare and value items from a vast number of manufacturers. All the top furniture brands flow in and out of our three stores. So we’re experts. 

We study furniture closely with a practiced eye. Do the legs wobble? How does the satin finish on that dining room table look after ten years of humid summers and bone-dry winters? How’s the leather holding up on that sectional?

Furniture made in the U.S. is consistently better. Companies that manufacture overseas inevitably suffer gaps in quality control. Foreign lumber is typically a lesser grade. Even when companies ship domestic lumber to foreign assembly plants, problems arise. And furniture is vulnerable to moisture at sea on the return voyage to the U.S. 

Without a doubt, the very best furniture comes from small shops where master woodworkers put heart and soul into every piece. Meticulous craftsmen spend hours aligning wood angles, carving by hand, and applying a finish that is close to perfection. A commisioned piece by one is an expensive but worthy heirloom. 

For mainstreamers, here’s our list of the best furniture makers in the U.S. They employ some of the most talented craftsmen in the world. We’ve ranked them in three categories:

Resale Value

1. Baker Furniture: New Baker is stunning and pristine. Very old Baker Furniture still has value. Everything in between is magnificent.
2. Stickley Furniture: While it focuses mostly on Arts & Crafts, the company does a superb job even with other styles.
3. Kindle Furniture: It boasts, rightfully, of the best finish process and the finest finishes. Its reproductions are museum-worthy. Quality never wavers. 
4. Hancock & Moore: Its leather withstands the elements and gets better with age. Timeless style and excellent construction keep resale values high.

Quality Construction

1. Kindle Furniture: Made-to-order in the U.S., its pieces are top-quality, finished in a lengthy process. 
2. Stickley Furniture: Joinery is pinned mortise and tenon, thus very stable. It uses solid quarter-sawn white oak from indigenous regional forests. It crafts dovetail and tongue-and-groove cross joints better than anyone.
3. Harden Furniture: Furniture is hand-constructed by skilled craftsman. The company has embraced sustainability in procuring its lumber.
4. Henkel Harris: Hand-rubbed finishes have a stunning patina. Its inlaid veneers on top of solid woods are gorgeous.


1. Thomas Pheasant Baker Furniture: He is simply the best furniture designer in the world. He skillfully pushes design limits while remaining true to traditional roots.
2. Herman Miller: Mid-century style is back, and HM has modernized the designs better than anyone.
3. Minton-Spidell: They have masterfully updated the design of hand-made European 18th & 19th century reproductions.
4. Guy Chaddock: His creative styling blends elements of contemporary and traditional designs without slavishly following one or the other. His pieces mix well with other styles.
5. Century: After a lull, it has rebounded with a phenomenal line-up of designs that keep it on the leading edge of style while retaining a luxurious look and feel.